Website speed optimization
Can you remember the last time you came across a website that took over three or four seconds to load? You might have ended up by closing that tab or might have felt less interested to read the stuff when the website finally loaded on the tab. See, everyone nowadays is in a hurry and because of advancement in internet speed, users want online stuff as quickly as possible and they get irritated when they don’t get fast access to information or services. All the search engines favor those websites that take less time to load, thus we can say that website speed optimization takes away a barrier between websites and its audience.
What is website speed/page speed?
Website speed or page speed significantly refers to the length of duration taken at which the web content is downloaded from the website hosting servers and displayed on the requested web browser or tab. The whole duration between clicking on the link and directing the entire web content on the requested browser make up page load time. An average page load speed across the globe is about 8.66 seconds but the proposal is to reduce that time to 3 or less than 3 seconds.
Search engines always give a priority for the website that loads faster, which ultimately keeps the website ahead of its competitors and this impacts search engine rankings which are based on some undisclosed algorithms incorporating major factors including page speed, user experience and a hell lot of website performance characteristics.
Website speed is the first impression that a visitor gets when he/she clicks on the link or types your website URL and unfortunately there’s no second chance for it. The low speed will leave the audience frustrated and they will abandon your website. Generally, if a website gets load within 2-5 seconds, it is said to be good but after 2 seconds business loses clients. Thus, it is advisable to focus on page speed optimization from scratch to get a noticeable impact on load times. In this article, we will discuss the different techniques for webpage speed optimization in details. Read on!
How to find if your website is slow
Everyone wants a fast loading website for which we need Website Speed Optimization. Engineers working at Google have pointed out that page load time of 0.4 seconds which approximately is equal to the time for the blink of an eye is long enough to cause users to abandon your site and move somewhere else. Actually, innovations in communications technologies have changed the way resources are being transmitted and delivered instantaneously, but to purchase or praise these resources we need speed optimized websites that offer the best user’s experience. There are various reasons for the lagging of site load time. Maybe it is because of server or image size or the number of redirects you have. Here, we will discuss 12 simple troubleshooting methods to improve website performance in the latter part.
But how to find whether your website is slow? One way to find out is by typing your website URL on a new private browser tab on your mobile or desktop computer, now use a stopwatch to find out what time it takes to load. This method will provide a basic idea to you. If stopwatch shows over 10 seconds, then you have to work upon your website speed immediately.
For more scientific and precise approach, there are several tools that will test your site speed on different devices and recommend ways to enhance your web speed to decrease the page load time for website speed optimization which you can do to your website’s backend.
Website speed testing tools
Obviously, using a stopwatch to find whether your website is fast enough is not a great way. That’s why web developers, marketers, and IT departments are taking advantage of a wide variety of website speed test tools online. Now, when you have a basic idea of web performance concepts above, I’ve narrowed down the best tools each having unique properties for testing your website’s speed.
GTmetrix is one of the premier free website speed test tools in 2019. It’s very easy to use because you have to just put URL in the text field and click “analyze” to get results. Some special features of GTmetrix are:
- The tester in straightforward. UI/UX design of the website makes it easy to navigate. In simple terms, it is user-friendly.
- It gives reports for your page speed numbers relative to the rest of the internet.
B. Google Page Speed Insight:
Google PageSpeed Insights isn’t actually a speed testing tool and doesn’t hold all the features as rest of the tools I’ll be mentioning here. In fact, it is a tool that shows how Google will test your page speed and ranks your website on the search platform. It will not show so much recommendation on how to fix problems but there are obviously some reasons to check this tool:
- This tool is extremely user-friendly. Just put your website URL and you’ll get to see results for both mobile and desktop versions on your screen. Results are color-coded so you can work on the problems instantly.
- Google results are always appreciated and trusted, that’s why this Google built tool matters a lot. If this tool is pointing out an issue with your website performance, you should seriously work on that problem at your website backend.
If you are searching for a little more specific and deep webpage speed tester, Pingdom should be your first choice. Reasons Pingdom might benefit you, are:
- Not only website speed optimization scores but also page speed monitoring for your site. Results are very easy to read with a breakdown of performance insights that also offers a particular list of issues.
- It lets users test website speed from any of four different testing locations. In general, you can choose the testing locations nearest to your website’s geographic base.
- The report generated is well organized and easy to code out in details. This helps in giving information to your web developer about the specific issues to address.
DareBoost website speed tester looks is like all other tools to put the URL, choosing a test location and finally starting your test, but the features that make it more interactive tool are:
- It breakdowns data into visual representations.
- Then featured a video breakdown of your loading process.
- Which helps you to monitor what a visitor is actually seeing when your webpage is loading. Their visual representation is a great way to access problems with your website performance.
Importance/ benefits of webpage speed optimization:
Every online marketer believes that speed can make or break their website. From user experience to Search engine optimization, in every aspect page speed influences your ranking and business. Google will rank a faster website above which will get you the traffic for your website. Once you get the traffic, your job is almost done.
Whereas after hitting on your site link, the internet will redirect the visitor to your content and if he/she finds out the page loading slowly, he/she might click away somewhere else to avoid the frustrating experience. As mentioned earlier search engine result pages, like Google uses page speed as a ranking factor, hence work on Page Speed Optimization.
Top 12 Website Speed Optimization Techniques:
There are many techniques to increase your speed and improve user experience. In this segment, we’ll go through 12 such effective techniques to improve performance.
Minimize HTTP request:
The browser makes an HTTP request for different parts of the page, like images, sheets, and scripts. So, larger the number of on-page components, the longer is page load time. If you use Google Chrome browser, go to “inspect” and then click the “network” tab. In the bottom left corner, you’ll find a total number of requests the site makes. Go through all your files and see if any file is unnecessary, then remove it.
Minify and combine files:
Detect 404 errors:
404 errors mean that we do not find the page you are looking for. This message pops out when the accessed content of the page doesn’t exist anymore. To detect and counter 404 errors, use error detection tools and plugins. Additional plugins may affect the website speed badly so it is recommended to run the resources through external tools for error detection.
Choose a better hosting platform:
Most of the owner’s pick hosting options which are cheapest in the market. Once you get more traffic, you’ve to upgrade your hosting option.
Speed up image loading:
It’s frustrating for a visitor to see the spinning thing on your screen while the visual is loading. To cope with this problem of image taking time to load, try to upload the smallest version of the related image. Try to restrict image size within the pixel width of your blog post. Just make them perfectly sized with respect to page width, otherwise, it may ruin your credibility and professional impression on visitors.
Check your plugins:
The browser takes time to understand what your installed website plugins mean and how they are assimilated, this means website speed depends on the number and quality of the installed plugins. To troubleshoot this problem, go through all your plugins, see carefully if you really need them! Otherwise, get them deactivated. Don’t install plugins for showing something fancy stuff.
Use website caching:
It is possible that many people will try to get access to your website and this might be the reason for servers to work slowly and will take more time to deliver the web page to each visitor. Caching is the process where the latest version of your webpage is stored on the hosting, and they deliver this version to each user until your webpage is updated. This will solve the problem of webpage rendering again and again for each user.
Implement Gzip compression:
Gzip reduces the size of files before sending them to the browser and unzips the file contents on the browser at the user side. This minimizes the HTTP requests and reduces server response time.
Reduce the use of web fonts:
Though attractive fonts are very popular for designing a website, they add extra HTTP requests and affects server response time. Some tips to counter the negative impacts of web font traffic:
- Choose only the necessary styles, don’t go for the fancy look!!
- Use modern formats for modern browsers.
Implement accelerated mobile pages (AMP):
High performing mobile websites are at top priority for eCommerce organizations. Looking at this trend, you need to make sure that your website loads prominently on mobile devices with AMP. These pages act as alternates to your normal webpages with stripped-down content.
Use prefetching techniques:
Prefetching generally means to expect user actions and load some content or links in advance. This technique is very common where UX designers and engineers assume the user’s behavior patterns and make “hints” for modern browsers to perform prefetching.
Conclusion Website Speed Optimization:
Consumers have limited attention spans, they typically want the pages to load within 3 seconds. Otherwise, you’ll lose a lot of traffic and your revenue. You need to apply multiple speed optimization techniques if you don’t want to give consumers a reason to abandon your page. Use the mentioned tools to test your website and then follow the above 12 ways to help your site.
Next Lecture: Is your Website Mobile Optimized?